Brittany Wegusen wears several titles at Kalatech, including CEO and Product Ninja. She’s been with the company almost four years and currently overseas this music software division plus manages other cloud-based projects. Kalatech currently operates PublisherPro, TourPro and BookingAgencyPro.
Wegusen’s love of marketing and technology is not new. After earning a degree in Marketing from Miami University, she returned home to Columbus, Ohio and began working in the Inventory Management department at Abercrombie & Fitch, collaborating digitally with other departments to maximize productivity and profitability. She moved to Nashville in 2010 with her husband and cat Kahlua.
Specialized publisher software is becoming a time-saving necessity and a Google search using the term, “music publisher business software,” reveals a number of competing products in the marketplace. Good advice for publishers is to be sure to speak with someone currently using whichever product you are studying.
The Kalatech team contacted NEKST a few months ago and more recently we interviewed a Nashville Publisher who independently raved about his experience using PublisherPro. We decided it would be valuable to examine the benefits of placing publisher data in the cloud and specifically some of the features this company offers. If you aren’t already using cloud technology to organize and safeguard your company, this article might help you decide if you should.
NEKST: What was the development process like for Publisher Pro?
Brittany Wegusen: Kalatech began as a programming shop called DevDigital that developed web sites, biz applications and other niche projects. Pub Pro started three or four years ago when Bigger Picture came to us with a special need. They were concerned about backing up their publishing catalog so that it would be completely safeguarded, even if their offices were to be damaged. They also wanted to be able to manage the catalog from locations outside the building. So they became our client and we worked out an agreement giving us the opportunity to sell the program afterwards. We like to start by creating a minimal viable product so we have something working right away and then start adding to it. That process of interacting with their staff members and tweaking while they started using it took almost two years. A few other publishers heard about it and asked if they could use it, too. So we added some additional users and got more feedback.
NEKST: This was during the rise of the cloud?
Brittany Wegusen: Yes. We already had Booking Agency Pro and Tour Pro, so we knew the model could save publishing companies time and keep their catalog information accurate. An added benefit was that Wi-Fi was becoming more readily available so finding an Internet connection was no longer a concern. You could be in Canada, the Bahamas or London and interact with your data. Melissa Hollis joined us last Nov. and bringing her on board has changed my life. She spent 12 years in the publishing world with three different publishers, so her input has helped us bring the product to maturity.
NEKST: Why is using the cloud so safe?
Brittany Wegusen: When your photos are on your hard drive, phone or computer they are vulnerable to accidents and other mishaps. In the cloud, we use cluster technology so your publisher data is always on three servers at once. We back them up in Nashville and Chattanooga every four hours. So the whole state of TN would have to go down for the data to be unrecoverable. Plus the cloud makes your data available everywhere across all your screens.
NEKST: Will one-size-fits-all software work for lots of publishers?
Brittany Wegusen: Because the program is online it is always evolving and changing. It’s more like a Facebook than some kind of program that comes in a box. There is no updating, no downloads—it’s all in the cloud. We are always taking feedback and adding to the features. This allows us to stay up to date with the companies and their creative departments as needs change.
NEKST: Do most of your PubPro clients still use admin companies?
Brittany Wegusen: Yes. The program is creative based, which means it organizes the catalog and facilitates exporting it to the admin companies. It doesn’t do royalties, but makes sure that everything gets put into one place. All the songs are there, you can see if they have lyrics, audio, check your cuts, holds, syncs and pitches. There’s also a music player in the program where you can listen to the songs in the catalog. Smart search is there to prevent spelling errors. We’re always looking to see what else our clients want though and the truth is some are looking for an admin solution so we are in the early stages of investigating that functionality.
NEKST: How tech savvy does an office need to be to use this product?
Brittany Wegusen: If you can operate a web browser or iTunes you can definitely use the program. Most of our clients require about an hour of training and they’re off to the races.
NEKST: What kind of hardware do I need?
Brittany Wegusen: Really just an internet browser and internet connection. Mac, PC or Chromebook, it doesn’t matter. It also works on any up-to-date phone, tablet or computer.
NEKST: Do think the industry will adopt cloud-based data programs for business in a bigger way?
Brittany Wegusen: Definitely. The ability to house your data in one place and access it from anywhere is something that everyone wants and needs. Plus these solutions save time and money. But it’s a niche customer, not someone who is going to click a ‘buy now’ button on impulse. They want to talk to us because the transition to a new system can be emotional, like ripping off a band aid, but it’s worth it. Our philosophy has always been to grow this organically.